The executive director of the City of Lakes Family Health Team issued a statement this morning, saying it is aware of sexual abuse allegations made against a physician at its Val Caron clinic.
David Courtemanche said the allegations have been referred by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) to its Discipline Committee, which will hold a hearing "at an undetermined date for the purposes of deciding whether the allegations are substantiated."
It's alleged Dr. Paul Malette of Val Caron sexually abused a patient (who is unnamed) and engaged in "disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional conduct" towards the patient, including "by kissing and/or attempting to kiss her, by touching her body, including her genital area, in a manner that was sexual and/or inappropriate."
He is also alleged to have breached boundaries, and made inappropriate remarks and remarks of a sexual nature towards the patient. The allegations are under investigation and Malette has not been charged with a crime.
"The safety and well-being of our patients is paramount to all members of our Family Health Team," the statement signed by Courtemanche reads. "Dr. Malette has denied the allegations and is complying with all clinical conditions and requirements of the CPSO."
The CPSO imposed a number of conditions and limitations on Malette's practice as a result of the allegations. He cannot see any patients, of any age or in any jurisdiction, alone. A patient monitor, who is a regulated health professional acceptable to the college, must be present at all times.
Malette must also inform the college of each and every location he practices or has privileges including, but not limited to, hospital(s), clinic(s) and office(s), in any jurisdiction.
Going forward, Malette must inform the college of any and all new practice locations within five days of commencing practice at that location. He must also post a sign in all waiting rooms, exam rooms, and consulting rooms in all of his practice locations, stating that these conditions have been imposed, as well as ensure that each patient with whom he has a professional encounter is directly notified prior to the encounter, with the details of the restrictions.
If the discipline panel finds that Malette did in fact commit an act of professional misconduct, he can have his member's certificate revoked or suspended, and be fined up to $35,000.
If the act of professional misconduct was the sexual abuse of a patient, Malette may be required to reimburse the college for funding provided for that patient. The discipline panel may also make an order requiring Malette to pay all or part of the college’s costs and expenses.
The full notice of hearing for Dr. Malette can be found here.